Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the US. About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths. Yikes! Many of the risk factors associated with heart disease can be handled through balanced (not ever perfect!) nutrition and moderate physical exercise on a regular basis. If you committed to lowering your cholesterol naturally, what a difference it could make!
We all want to stay a little more heart healthy. Take on these tips and beging lowering your cholesterol naturally to keep yourself heart strong.
Risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease include:
- high blood pressure
- lack of sleep
- high cholesterol
- diets that are high in fat, combined with carbohydrates
- physical inactivity
Even if your cholesterol is already on the high side, there’s quite a bit you can do to reduce your levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and improve your “good” HDL cholesterol, lowering your cholesterol naturally.
1 // Eat Plenty of Fiber
Foods that are rich in soluble fiber contain sterols, which help your body block cholesterol from being absorbed into your system. According to research, increasing your soluble fiber intake to 5-10g per day can see a drop in your LDL cholesterol levels.
2 // Eat Oatmeal
Changing up your breakfast or snacks to oatmeal can lower cholesterol and studies have seen decreases of over 5% after 6 weeks. Oats have a beta-glucan content, which absorbs cholesterol so that your body can excrete more of it. If you’re not currently making the most of your breakfast, switching things up with oats is an easy way to keep you feeling fuller for longer and help your cholesterol too. Bonus tip: whole oats or steel cut deliver the best results.
3 // Snack on Nuts
Nuts are also a good source of sterols, which means that less cholesterol is absorbed by your body. This makes them a perfect snack for lower cholesterol. Don’t go too overboard though as they contain a fair amount of fat (albeit the super healthy kind). In one study, snacking on walnuts 6 days a week for a month reduced LDL cholesterol by nearly 10%.
4 // Consider Adding Soy to Your Diet
Soy contains proteins that can affect how the body regulates cholesterol. Soy milk and soy-based yogurts can reduce your cholesterol by up to 6% and you only need around 15g per day to make this happen. If you can’t have dairy products or you just want to have less dairy in your diet, soy products are a great alternative – even more so when you consider their cholesterol lowering benefits! My favorite meal replacement shake offers 9g of protein per serving. I boost it with another 8g for a hearty, satisfying meal. Soy goal achieved.
5 // Swap Butter for Olive Oil
Swapping out more saturated fat for healthier alternatives is a great move for your cholesterol. Opting to dip your bread in olive oil rather than spreading butter on it can reduce LDL cholesterol by up to 15%. Extra virgin olive oil is your best bet as it’s got more antioxidants. Adding avocados into your diet will do the same thing. Avocado toast anyone?
6 // Add Beans to Soups
Adding half a cup of beans to your soup can bring your LDL cholesterol down by up to 8%. Plus, it’s an easy way to add a bit more fiber and bulk out your soups.
7 // Snack on Dark Chocolate
This is my favorite way of lowering cholesterol naturally! Studies show that snacking on a really high-quality dark chocolate, preferably one with at least 70% cacao can increase your “good” HDL cholesterol. A dark chocolate health break every day sounds like the perfect way to lower cholesterol to me!
8 // Add Flavor With Garlic
Not in the habit of using garlic and spices in your dishes? They’re an easy way to lower cholesterol naturally. According to studies, eating up to a clove of garlic every day could help to reduce your LDL cholesterol by nearly 10%. Garlic can also stop cholesterol particles from clogging arteries as much as they may otherwise do.
9 // Move More
Regular exercise offers a significant way of lowering your cholesterol naturally. Working out for around 2.5 hours each week can bring your cholesterol down and encourage your HDL cholesterol to go up too. Every bit of exercise counts so whatever you can do is going to help to keep your cholesterol at a healthier level.
10 // Lose Those Extra 10 Pounds, Forever
If you’re even a little bit overweight at the moment, getting down to a healthy weight can help to reduce your LDL cholesterol. Healthy weight loss is 1-2 lbs per week until you get to your target weight. Incorporating the other 9 tips to lowering cholesterol naturally will contribute to this weight loss. Permanently adopting the tips will help you maintain your weight loss forever.
Want to stay connected and get fresh nutrition and fitness tips in your in box? Learn how to eat smarter and live healthier with the best nutrition + fitness tips and advice, delivered regularly to your inbox. Click here to register!